The legendary Joey Ramone would have turned 69 today (May 19th), and the occasion is being marked with the annual “Birthday Bash” tribute in his honor. Only this time, due to the pandemic, it will be a virtual celebration, with members of Ramones, Green Day, Sex Pistols, and more performing.
The “Joey Ramone Virtual Birthday Bash” kicks off tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on the official Facebook page of the late punk icon. Among the performers are onetime Ramones members CJ Ramone and Richie Ramone, Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, Dictators bassist Andy Shernoff, David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick, and more.
A late addition just announced this morning is a debut performance from Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, who has reworked the Ramones’ “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” into “Now I Wanna Drink Some Bleach”. Surely, the updated version pokes fun at President Trump’s recent suggestion that injecting disinfectants could be a way to treat coronavirus.
Also listed on the extensive lineup is Alan Merrill, the singer of The Arrows (and composer of “I Love Rock ‘n Roll”), who recently passed away due to COVID-19 complications. Perhaps previously filmed footage will be shown for his segment.
Among those also scheduled to appear throughout the evening, but not listed as performers, are Blondie’s Clem Burke, Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos, D Generation’s Jesse Malin, Talking Heads’ Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, Living Colour’s Vernon Reid, Patti Smith Group’s Lenny Kaye, and more.
The virtual birthday celebration is being presented by Joey Ramone’s brother, Mickey Leigh, and Little Steven’s Underground Garage radio show. See the full lineup in the poster below.
Joey Ramone passed away on April 15th, 2001, at the age of 49 after a lengthy battle with lymphoma. The singer’s death was soon followed by the passings of fellow founding Ramones members Dee Dee Ramone (in 2002) and Johnny Ramone (in 2004). The last surviving original Ramones member, drummer Tommy Ramone, died in 2014.
Tune in to the Joey Ramone Virtual Birthday Bash via the official Joey Ramone Facebook page (below) tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET. The event is free, but viewers are encouraged to make donations to the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research.